Welcome to the first day of Spring! March could be the coldest for 50 years and winter is expected to stay for yet another week

Hugo Gye – Daily Mail March 20, 2013

  • Snow set to fall across North and Scotland as Britain’s cold snap continues

Today is officially the first day of spring – but it will bring little respite to freezing Britain as snow continues to fall, closing schools and causing chaos on the roads.

The country is on track to suffer its coldest March in more than 50 years as conservationists warned that the prolonged winter weather was damaging wildlife.

The unrelenting cold weather is showing no signs of slowing this week as snow continues to fall across the North.

Today is the vernal equinox, traditionally regarded as the end of winter and the day that spring arrives, but the news could come as a surprise to Britons affected by the snow and cold.

More light snow will settle throughout the day in the north-east of England and eastern Scotland, adding to large amounts of up to 10cm which hit the regions yesterday.

Higher ground will see up to another 5cm, while lower areas could see around 2cm – along with parts of Northern Ireland and Wales.

The Midlands and Lincolnshire should also prepare for the risk of light snow today.

Biting temperatures of around just 1C will keep their hold on the North and rise just a few degrees in the Midlands. Further south they will hit highs of around 9C in Devon.

The Met Office has warned the public to take care in potentially icy conditions because of the low temperatures.

But Friday will see a return of heavier snow storms, which will spread further south to the Midlands.

The Central England Temperature – covering an area bounded by Lancashire, Bristol and London – shows temperatures have been 2.8C lower than normal for the month.

The last time March was so cold was in 1962, when the average temperature was 2.4C (36F) – or 4.1C below the norm.

A forecaster at MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: ‘It’s another cold day in a very cold week.

‘There will be more snow in the north but not as heavy as yesterday, though there is a risk it will move slightly lower than yesterday down to the Midlands and through Lincolnshire.

‘But there is a chance of more heavy snow in the north on Friday, which at the moment looks like it could also hit parts of the Midlands.’

Blizzards which hit Scotland yesterday closed dozens of schools and caused hazardous conditions on the roads.

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